Wilson Fisk cuts quite the imposing figure in the Marvel comic book universe. Created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. in 1967, he’s gone from Spider-Man villain to Kingpin of crime across several different comic book series and animated projects.
Studios brought him to the screen in live action three times in the forms of John Rhys Davies, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Vincent D’Onofrio. D’Onofrio is back in the role again for the third season of Daredevil, currently on Netflix.
He’s spent time all over the world, but he still calls New York home. That’s why he frequently finds himself at odds with costumed heroes. A regular guy who teaches himself the ropes of crime and punishment, Fisk’s popularity hasn’t waned. Some fans even rooted for him to get the best of Daredevil and Spider-Man on numerous occasions. All he wants to do is control the criminal element in his neck of the woods. Is that really too much to ask?
The heroes certainly think so, which is why Fisk wound up in many sticky situations over the years. His impressive size and strength hasn’t saved him in tussles with heroes or villains. Put through the wringer over the last five decades, his body has taken quite a beating, and gone through a few interesting changes.
Combing through Kingpin’s extensive history, we’ve found quite the collection of interesting facts and figures about the super villain’s anatomy.
We’ve gathered up some of the best for these 30 Crazy Details About Kingpin’s Body.
Unlike most of the heroes and villains in Marvel Comics, Wilson Fisk didn’t get super strength from a mutant gene or enhanced senses from radiation. Instead, he has no superhuman abilities.
Fisk climbed his way through the criminal underworld ranks to gather wealth, resources, and followers to become the Kingpin of crime.
He did so with a keen mind and lots of planning. Frequently able to stay three or four steps ahead of his enemies, he manages to spend most of his comic book history without getting into any trouble. On occasion, he has gained powers through weird events, but they never last.
Many comic book creators get inspired by actors. For Kingpin, Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. found inspiration in the performances of Sydney Greenstreet. Kingpin landed in comics in 1967, 13 years after Greenstreet lost his life to complications from diabetes and a kidney affliction. Spider-Man Chronicle: A Year By Year Visual History made it clear to comic book fans that the comic book legends remembered his performances.
Greenstreet got his start on stage in England before making his way to the stage in New York. In his 60s, he made his big screen debut in The Maltese Falcon. He starred in a slew of now iconic roles, including as a corrupt club owner in Casablanca.
In the 90s, the Daredevil series gave comic book fans more Wilson Fisk backstory than they might have expected. In the series, fans got a look into his childhood and rise to crime. As a kid, Wilson Fisk was considered obese. His peers weren’t exactly kind about it. Routinely bullied by his peers, he decided to do something about it.
Fisk began to work out, but not to lose weight. Instead, he put himself through combat training, so he could take his bullies head-on. Eventually, he became so intimidating, he actually recruited former bullies into his own gang, catching the attention of crime families.
One of the Kingpin’s most famous adversaries is the blind man we know as Daredevil. For a time in the comics, Kingpin was also blind. He attempted to deceive the heroine Echo into believing Daredevil was responsible for the loss of her father. When Echo found out the truth, that Kingpin was actually responsible, she took her revenge.
She shot him in the middle of a boxing ring, leaving him blind.
Rather than learn to adapt, Kingpin wallowed in his new circumstance, losing his hold on crime and sequestering himself in Europe until he could undergo an eye transplant. The transplant allowed him to see again.
Since the Kingpin doesn’t have unbreakable skin, he’s still immune to blows or bullets from his enemies. He takes precautions to make sure hits aren’t fatal. In the comics, Wilson Fisk makes sure he wears kevlar under his iconic suits. The same idea was adapted by the creative team for the Daredevil Netflix series.
In the television series, it’s not necessarily kevlar under his clothing. Melvin Potter, the same character who created Daredevil’s suit, also created armor for Wilson Fisk. We don’t know exactly what kind of material he used, but it’s certainly durable. Fisk wears it as part of his everyday attire once he starts his rise to power.
In the second volume of the Daredevil comic, Wilson Fisk set about getting Matt Murdock arrested. He succeeded, but also ended up getting himself arrested when the FBI didn’t honor their deal. Murdock and Fisk wind up in the same prison with the hope that the two of them will get rid of each other.
That’s not what happens though as they decide to work together to escape when a riot breaks out. Unfortunately, the alliance is short lived when Bullseye attempts to join them. Fisk wants to help him break out, but Murdock refuses. In the end, Bullseye tries to shoot Matt, who escapes, but ends up shooting the Kingpin in the knee instead!
Since first introduced, the Kingpin has always been drawn or portrayed as larger than everyone around him. That body mass isn’t just big bones and fat tissue.
Instead, every adaptation has made clear that Wilson Fisk is mostly hard muscle.
The actors who played him in live action lifted weights as they gained weight for the role. They wanted to be in the same shape as the character, not just look like him. Think of the Kingpin like a very large athlete. He’s quicker on his feet than expected, like a linebacker in football. Fisk is also incredible strong, able to pick grown men up and toss them around, like a sumo wrestler.
During the Civil War story arc of Marvel Comics, Kingpin tried to play both sides of the law. He gave Iron Man information about Captain America, but other criminals didn’t like him speaking to one of the heroes.
To show he still had his dark side, Kingpin put out a hit on Spider-Man and his family. It led to Aunt May being injured and Spider-Man paying Kingpin a visit in prison. Spider-Man used his anger to fuel his fight with Kingpin, giving the villain a sound beating. The hero did it in front of a large group of criminals though so word of Kingpin’s easy defeat would spread and embarrass him.
During the 2015 Secret Wars comic book arc, a planet grafted together from many alternate universes had many versions of the same characters. One version of Kingpin existed in the Warzone of the planet, a domain created from a universe where Civil War never ended.
There, Kingpin was still trying to make himself the top of the food chain. After eliminating Doctor Octopus, a Spider-Man villain with mechanical limbs like the creature he’s named for, Kingpin took those limbs for himself. He grafted them onto his own body, hoping to use them to his advantage. Doc Ock’s arms had other plans against him and electrocuting the villain.
Before Wilson Fisk became a villain named Kingpin, he was a child. The first season of Daredevil on Netflix opted to give audience’s a glimpse into that childhood.
While he wasn’t a Disney star in-universe, he was played by one.
Cole Jensen appeared in Daredevil as a young Wilson targeted by his classmates. Before Jensen got to dip his toe into the Marvel waters, he was a bonafide Disney Channel Star. He was the star of the series Crash And Bernstein. As the titular Bernstein, he had a talking stuffed friend named Crash that got him into all kinds of trouble.
Though casting directors have made an effort to get actors with imposing stature in the role of Wilson Fisk, sometimes, they need just a bit more meat on their bones to really bring him to life.
Michael Clarke Duncan explained when doing press for the FOX Daredevil movie that he weighed in at 290 pounds when he was approached about the role. He was asked to get his weight up to at least 330 pounds for the role. According to Duncan, though, it wasn’t that difficult to put on 40 pounds. He called the process “fantastic” since he could eat whatever he wanted and didn’t have to do any cardio focused workouts.
Kingpin briefly left his old life as a crime boss behind. He spent a year living in a remote fishing village in Spain with a woman and her children. His peaceful year was interrupted when Lady Bullseye and The Hand tracked him down.
Lady Bullseye not only eliminated the woman and her children, but she also led members of The Hand in an attack against Wilson Fisk. The confrontation left the former Kingpin of crime with a katana through each shoulder. This confrontation leads to Kingpin pursuing revenge against The Hand. He even plans to take over the group as a result.
For a while in Marvel comics, the island of Manhattan became known as Spider-Island. A storyline of the same name features a lot of unlikely people ending up with spider-powers. Throughout the arc, nearly everyone on the island who didn’t already have super powers began to suddenly develop the powers of Spider-Man. The villain known as the Jackal reverse engineered the powers of Peter Parker and “infected” the rest of the island with them.
As a result, longtime foe Kingpin ended up with some of his own powers.
Readers saw him develop the ability to climb on walls. Like everyone else though, he eventually lost his abilities.
Kingpin might be strong, but even he can’t punch his way through Darkforce. Darkforce is one of those comic book substances/powers that does whatever the writer needs it to do. It’s the power behind Cloak’s teleportation in Cloak and Dagger. Darkforce has also been featured in some form on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter.
In the Secret Empire comics, Darkforce “cloaked” Manhattan. It prevented anyone from entering or leaving the island. Kingpin was trapped there with everyone else. He did use the story arc to do a few good deeds. Fisk saved some citizens during a robbery and even lent a hand to Doctor Strange and Spider-Woman.
The “Secret Empire” event that stretched across Marvel comics got pretty weird sometimes - and we’re not even talking about Captain America as Hydra. One of those weird instances involved Wilson Fisk helping Doctor Strange and his allies through a subway full of monsters to visit a witch.
While Doctor Strange is leery of dark magic, he still goes ahead with the visit to the witch. Kingpin ends up being possessed by a demon following the encounter. Of course, it’s not just any random possession. He actually uses a possessed mask housing the demon. It’s up to Ben Urich, a reporter magically transformed into a knight, to stop Kingpin.
In a handful of issues of the original Captain America series, a wealthy recluse by the name of Harold Howard existed. The man was the comic book version of Howard Hughes, and supposedly a leader of Hydra. As it turned out, Wilson Fisk abducted the real billionaire and hid out in his penthouse, stealing his identity. Of course, since Captain America was always on Hydra’s trail, he discovered the duplicity.
Kingpin and Captain America came to blows when Cap uncovered the truth.
Surprisingly, Kingpin was a pretty even match for the super soldier. The two fought to a stalemate.
In an old issue of Daredevil titled “In The Kingpin’s Clutches”, the hero attempts to go undercover. He thinks he can sneak into Kingpin’s inner circle undetected to steal the information the villain has on other criminals.
Daredevil is not so great at the undercover work. When Kingpin catches him, Daredevil gets the beating of his life. In the midst of all of this fighting though, we do get an interesting detail about Kingpin. He must keep his body toned to a very specific strength level. Why? It’s revealed that he has a safe made with a special door. The door isn’t locked. Instead, it’s so heavy that Fisk is just strong enough to open it.
As part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wilson Fisk wasn’t always the tough guy he is in Daredevil. As a child, he was bullied by his peers and his father.
A proud man, his father thought if he ran for office, he could solve all of his problems. Unfortunately for Fisk, that wasn’t true. When his father lost the election, he took out his anger on his family, abusing both his wife and son. Eventually, Fisk couldn’t stand to see his mother in pain anymore and the two took care of the problem. As an adult though, those memories haunt him. He has nightmares nearly every night.
It’s not just Fisk’s body that’s super strong. So is his will. Jessica Jones fans know the Marvel villain “Purple Man” as Kilgrave thanks to the Netflix series. In the comics though, he was, quite literally, a purple man, who could make people do anything he wanted. It was rare that he couldn’t bend someone to his will.
The Kingpin’s willpower was so strong that he was able to resist the villain’s influence in a Marvel Team-Up issue.
In the Netflix version of the Marvel universe, it appears that Kilgrave's ability was biological. With Kilgrave gone from Jessica Jones’ life though, we’ll never know if Kingpin could have resisted the villain on screen.
In the ever expanding Marvel Zombie universe, Kingpin was one of the few characters who kept his wits about him. The hunger caused when a character became a zombie usually overrode all of their other instincts. Wilson Fisk’s force of will allowed him to overcome his hunger and come up with a plan.
He cloned those of the world who were still not infected by the zombie virus, using the clones as a food source. His ability to control his hunger and create a plan to feed the zombies made the others respect him, and he became their leader.
During the second season of Daredevil on Netflix, Wilson Fisk ends up in prison for some of his many crimes. When Frank Castle ends up in the same prison, it’s Fisk who ensures Castle escapes. He hopes Castle can eliminate his outside competition.
That plan works to an extent. It also leads Matt Murdock to pay Fisk a visit, revealing he knows what Fisk did. Matt threatens Fisk by informing him that if he doesn’t admit it, he’ll make sure Fisk’s girlfriend can never re-enter the country. Fisk is angry enough by this news that he breaks the locking mechanism on his handcuffs with brute strength, ripping them from the anchor holding him in place.
Many comic characters have memories wiped over the years.
Sometimes, they get amnesia as the result of an injury, while other times, a bad guy removes memories for a reason. In the case of Wilson Fisk, it was the latter.
“One More Day” was an arc that ran across four Spider-Man titles. In it, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were married, but made a deal with the “devil” Mephisto to give up their relationship. In exchange, Peter’s Aunt May didn’t lose her life to a gunshot. As a result, Peter and MJ’s relationship was mystically dissolved and so was the entire world knowing Spider-Man’s true identity. Wilson Fisk’s knowledge of Peter Parker was completely erased!
Fans don’t see a lot of crossover between Marvel and DC comics these days. Crossovers used to be a lot more common for the publishers, and the writers had a lot of fun with them.
One crossover created the Amalgam Universe. In it, popular heroes merged from either side of the comic book divide to create whole new characters. It wasn’t just the heroes who found themselves merged though. Kingpin featured in the crossover as the villain who merged with The Riddler. The fusion of the duo created a character aptly named The Big Question.
“Spider-Man ate Kingpin” is probably not a phrase most comic book fans thought they would see. In Spidey’s defense, it happened in an alternate universe.
Marvel Zombies Return spun out of Marvel’s Zombie universe. In it, Kingpin had the Sinister Six steal a special tablet from a university. His team was thwarted when the zombie version of Spider-Man (from yet another universe) was transported to his. The zombie Spider-Man did serious damage as he actually ate five of the six. When Kingpin attempted to confront him and stop him, it didn’t go well. Spider-Man also ate him.
When filming the Daredevil movie featuring Ben Affleck and Michael Clarke Duncan, sometimes, fight scenes got a little too real.
Affleck’s stunt double spent a lot of time rehearsing fight scenes with Duncan. When Duncan rehearsed a scene with Affleck though, the two used a real lead pipe instead of a plastic pipe.
After going through the steps multiple times, Affleck decided they were ready to try it for real, but he never switched out the pipe for plastic. During the scene, Affleck nailed Duncan with the real lead pipe. Duncan’s eye was swollen, delaying filming for a little while.
These days, the Marvel Cinematic Universe might claim Chris Hemsworth as Thor, but he’s certainly not the first actor to play the hero.
After breaking into the film industry with Full Metal Alchemist in the 80s, Vincent D’Onofrio landed a small role in the family comedy Adventures in Babysitting. In it, he played the owner of Dawson’s Garage, but to one of the kids, he looked like her favorite comic book character. The youngest of the film’s charges presented her plastic helmet to D’Onofrio’s character to remind him of who he was. He told her to keep it because he “had one at home.”
If you’re a fan of alternate realities in comics, you might have noticed that the Kingpin isn’t just Daredevil’s or Spider-Man’s arch nemesis. When other dimensions and timelines come into play, he’s targeted by just about everyone.
In fact, he’s become the enemy of so many heroes in other realities that he’s been eliminated by quite a few. In addition to Daredevil and Spider-Man taking his life, Kingpin has also lost out to Gwen Stacy, Hawkeye, Hawkeye’s daughter, Vision, Venom, and Mysterio. The person who seems to have the biggest bone to pick with him is the Punisher. He’s eliminated Kingpin across several realities.
We haven’t seen a ton of stunts out of Wilson Fisk in the Netflix series (yet), but Michael Clarke Duncan had to do his own during the movie.
According to Duncan, he had a stunt double, but his stunt double was so much smaller than him that it was too noticeable when they switched places.
Duncan didn’t mind though. He explained in interviews that the experience was “pretty cool,” because he could point to a scene and explain, “that was me,” something he hadn’t been able to do on many of his previous films.
No, Kingpin isn’t one of those guys who loves to embrace his friends. The bear hug is practically his signature move in a fight. As a result of his time spent traveling around the world, Wilson Fisk picked up skills in a lot of different fighting styles. One of those happens to be sumo wrestling, which works well with his size. In the comics, he prefers to use sumo moves against an opponent.
The one that readers picked up on is the bear hug. This move involves a person wrapping their arms around their enemy in what looks like a hug. In reality, he’s immobilizing them so that he can throw them.
Vincent D’Onofrio is known for transforming himself for his roles. He once gained a huge 70 pounds for a role in the early days of his career. For Kingpin, he also puts on weight before the season starts to add to his imposing figure. In between seasons though he does lose some of Wilson Fisk’s weight.
In an interview with Men’s Journal, D’Onofrio revealed that most of his family are vegetarians, so eating healthy is never the problem for him. When he wants to lose weight, he turns to the cardio workouts he doesn’t do as Kingpin. He and his wife take SoulCycle classes together. The indoor cycling class boasts some serious moves.
Did you learn something new about Kingpin or are you already an expert on the Daredevil villain? Let us know in the comments!